Born February 18, 1838
||JOHN FOLEY. This substantial resident of Anamosa is engaged as a railroad contractor, and also is the owner of a good farm in Fairview Township. He is a native of Ireland, having been born February 18, 1838. His parents, Thomas and Mary (Kelly) Foley, were also natives of the Emerald Isle, the former corning to the United States when advanced in years. John, when emigrating hither, landed in New York City, whence he made his way into Champaign County, Ohio, where he attended school for one winter, and then began working on the Columbus & Cleveland Railroad.
In 1856 the subject of this sketch went to Wisconsin, where he was employed on the La Crosse & Milwaukee Road, and afterward removed to Watertown, that state, working for the Chicago & Northwestern, and afterward as an employe for the Janesville & Oshkosh Road. Three years later young Foley came to Iowa, making his headquarters for a time in Ottumwa in the employ of the Des Moines Valley Railroad Company, in grading the road bed. He afterward was engaged by the Illinois Central, and located at Waterloo, this state. In the year 1860, our subject came to Anamosa, in the employ of the Milwaukee & St. Paul Road, laying the track between this city and Sperryville. After completing this work he went to Benton County and constructed the road between Cedar Rapids and Marshalltown for the Northwestern Road. We next find Mr. Foley in Lanark, Ill., working for the Milwaukee & St. Paul under Captain Smith, on that portion of the road lying between Freeport and Savannah.
March 26, 1864, our subject again came to this city and was married to Miss Nora Sullivan, of Anamosa, and the daughter of Michael and Ellen Sullivan, natives of Ireland. After his marriage Mr. Foley was engaged in farm pursuits for two years, but finding this business did not suit him, again engaged in railroad work, this time for the Chicago & Northwestern. In 1867 he worked for a time on the Rock Island, and the same year laid the track of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy between Clinton and Indianola.
In 1870 our subject returned to Anamosa, investing his surplus money in real estate and carried on general farming for the succeeding three years. His possessions now aggregate eight hundred acres, five hundred of which are under the best methods of improvement. His farm is stocked with fine animals, has an ample supply of buildings, including a commodious dwelling and good barn. In addition to this property Mr. Foley owns a fine grocery store in Anamosa, which is carried on by his son, Thomas W.
As has already been seen, our subject is a truly self-made man. During his childhood he experienced many disadvantages, but not withstanding discouragements he pushed ahead, and the result proves the wisdom of his course. He has in vested his money judiciously, has a beautiful home in the city, and is prepared to spend the declining years of his life in peace and comfort, surrounded by many of the luxuries of life. With his good wife, Mr. Foley is a member of St. Patrick's Church at Anamosa, in the faith of which they have trained their children.
Source: Dubuque, Jones, and Clayton Counties History, 1894, pg. 166
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